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I Love Meatballs!
by Rick Rodgers

Marsala, mushrooms, and veal are old pals, and come together in many Italian dishes. It was a natural progression to turn them into a meatball sauce for twisty fusilli pasta. Use dry Marsala, and save the sweet version for making desserts.
Makes 4 to 6 servings


    Veal Meatballs
    • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1½ pounds ground veal
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 1/4 cup minced shallots
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Marsala Mushroom Sauce
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup dry Marsala
    • 1¾ cups homemade beef stock or canned reduced-sodium beef broth
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 pound fusilli, fettuccine, or spaghetti
    • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
    • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. To make the meatballs, stir the bread crumbs and milk together in a large bowl and let stand until the crumbs soak up the milk, about 3 minutes. Add the veal, eggs, shallots, parsley, salt, and pepper, Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours. Using your wet hands rinsed under cold water, shape into 18 equal meatballs. Transfer to a baking sheet.

2. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the shallots and cook until they soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Add the Marsala and bring to a boil. Stir in the broth and cream and return to a boil.

3. Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fusilli and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain well and return to the pot.

5. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the meatballs to a platter (they are more delicate than most meatballs). Add the sauce to the fusilli in the pot and stir well. Transfer the fusilli and sauce to a large warmed serving bowl, top with the meatballs, and garnish with parsley. Serve hot, with Parmesan passed at the table.

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